Kate Winslet interview: On raising hell with ‘The Regime’ and more

During a somewhat unsettled Zoom call with interference issues, actress Kate Winslet maintains a composed and regal demeanor, reassuring us that the fluctuating internet connection is not a bother to her in the slightest. Winslet is in London for the press circuit of her newest venture, a six-episode HBO miniseries entitled ‘The Regime,’ in which she adopts the role of a beleaguered authoritarian figure.

For an actress with a career that has seen her offering nuanced portrayals of diverse and deeply flawed women over the past three decades, this new performance as Chancellor Elena Vernham stands out. Vernham finds herself in the throes of chaos, struggling to maintain her sanity and authority after becoming romantically entangled with the explosive Herbert Zubak, portrayed by Matthias Schoenaerts. The series charts her increasingly frenetic efforts to cling onto power, inadvertently creating turmoil for her nation and its people.

Winslet, whose resume boasts Oscar, Emmy, and Golden Globe victories, is no stranger to embodying intense, complex characters. She has appeared in legendary titles like ‘Titanic,’ given life to indelible characters in ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,’ and charmed in ‘The Holiday.’ Notwithstanding her past accolades, attending performance in ‘The Regime’ has generated high expectations, as Winslet navigates the twists and turns of a darkly comedic narrative that digs into the psyche of the entwined totalitarian lovers.

Steered by the minds of Will Tracy, Stephen Frears (The Queen), and Jessica Hobbs (The Crown), the series brings together a talented cast including the likes of Guillaume Gallienne, Andrea Riseborough, and features an engagingly nefarious cameo by Hugh Grant.

During an in-depth conversation, Winslet shares insights about the extensive team effort that went into shaping the series’ fictional country set somewhere in central Europe, providing the actors ample room to explore the extremities of comedic absurdity. Winslet takes us behind her methodical approach to crafting the persona of a female dictator, delving into the psychological depth of Chancellor Vernham and peeling back the layers of her skewed perfection to expose her underlying vulnerabilities.

Reflecting on her career, Winslet dismisses the traditional notion of being an “old-fashioned movie star,” favoring a representation anchored in humility, kindness, and gratefulness, particularly embracing the positives of being a woman aging in Hollywood. She champions the ensemble nature of filmmaking, equating the value of her contributions to those of every crew member, insisting on the collaborative spirit that permeates her work ethos.

The narrative weaves through her authoritative character’s backstory filled with childhood trauma and a need for validation from an unforgiving father, shaping the unique eccentricities of her role. Winslet credits the writing team for providing a fully-realized script that allowed the cast to invest fully in the satire and character development.

Preferring to present a world devoid of identifiable accents, the series thrives on its diversity of voices, underscoring the creative choice to mix and disrupt expectations. Upholding the creative license of a simulated universe without ties to any specific real-world events, Winslet revels in the political satire that invites viewers to interpret the story on their own.

‘The Regime,’ which sees Winslet at the center of a fictional maelstrom of power, romance and comedy, premiered on JioCinema on March 4. As we await audience reception of this latest project, one thing remains clear: Kate Winslet continues to captivate us with her fearless foray into complex characters, offering performances that resonate and unsettle, with a touch of humor to keep it undoubtedly Winslet.

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